From your Parisian

Sharing my newest discoveries as I float through the streets of Paris. Restaurants, bars, events, all reviewed for you with love, from your Parisian.


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Fast food, Fast Review: Miznon

I’ve wanted to write a review of Miznon for a while now but it wasn’t until this weekend, with Paris being all cold and rainy, that I started craving one of their pitas and felt the urge to look through my photos, drool a bit and eventually type out this blog post.Miznon_Paris_boeuf bougignon pitaMiznon is located in the Marais, right off Rue des Rosiers, where you will find the very popular falafel shops. Miznon can be considered as a fusion between street food and fine dining as the dishes they stuff into their pitas are beyond delicious, and I am more than happy to pay a little more for a taste like no other in Paris. This is actually the second location of Miznon (the first being in Tel-Aviv), which was brought over to France by the amazing chef Eyal Shani.Miznon_Paris_interiorThe restaurant itself is unassuming and rustic with metal and wooden tables and unfinished stone walls. The decor is equally simple, consisting of fresh veggies that are used as necessary, with piles of zucchinis along one counter and cauliflower, tomatoes and artichokes placed on the windowsills. The chefs are behind the counter and prepare everything in front of your eyes, making it a real interactive experience. They are very friendly and bustle about quickly as they fill pitas with a beautiful medley of meat, veggies, sauces, herbs and spices.Miznon_Paris_veggiesMiznon_Paris_interior 2The menu is scribbled in colorful chalk, in a rather chaotic manner, on the blackboard behind the counter and features some French classics with a Mediterranean touch. I was with two friends from out of town and we chose the lamb kebab and the boeuf bourgignon pitas (11, 50 Euros each). The lamb kebab balls were complemented by onions, parsley and veggies; a light and fragrant delight. The flavorful boeuf bourgignon, complete with chunks of tender beef and carrots was loaded into the soft but sturdy pita and was rich and meaty.Miznon_Paris_pitasMy favorite, however, is the stuffed cabbage pita (of course I always have to like the most expensive menu item at 12 Euros): cabbage leaves filled with ground lamb and spices, cooked with vine-ripened tomatoes and then piled into their pita with other herbs and a creamy white sauce (I’m guessing a homemade mayonnaise). SO incredibly delicious! They have a variety of other pitas available ranging from 6-12 Euros each, which include several vegetarian choices (like ratatouille). Don’t forget to also try one of their roasted cauliflower heads (6,50 Euros), that are grilled with olive oil and coarse grain salt. Ours came out looking a little burnt but still tasted really good. Everything here is simple, fresh and natural and just tastes out of this world!Miznon_Paris_stuffed cabbage pitaMiznon_Paris_CauliflowerSo if you want to try some mouthwatering pitas in a crowded and extremely lively eatery then I highly recommend checking out Miznon. Keep in mind that they are open Sunday and Monday (but closed Saturday and Friday night) and that there is extra seating at the back of the restaurant if it becomes too crowded in the front (where all of the action takes place). Alternatively, you can take a pita to go and sit in one of the nearby parks or squares, like Place des Vosges. Just be warned: these pitas are addictive!  miznon_paris_exterior

Restaurant Details:

22 Rue des Ecouffes

75004 Paris

+33 (0)1 42 74 83 58

Rating:

5 gourmet pitas out of 5

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Travel Fun: A Weekend by the Sea in Trouville

The one thing I often say that is missing from Paris is a REAL beach (sorry Paris Plage, but you just don’t cut it for me), so before August ended the bf and I decided to have a weekend away at the seaside town of Trouville-sur-Mer, more commonly known as Trouville.Rooftops and beach_TrouvilleFrom Saint-Lazare Station in Paris, it is only a 2 hour train ride until you arrive at the Trouville-Deauville station, making it a great choice for a day trip to the beach. We decided to make it a 2-day getaway, and it was exactly what I needed. From the train station you either go left, to the fancier town of Deauville, or turn to the right and cross a little bridge to the quaint fishing town of Trouville-sur-Mer.Trouville_boardwalkYou immediately smell the salty sea air and can hear the seagulls welcoming you from above. The architecture in this town is stunning, as all the buildings are full of character and charm (some with the characteristic half-timber design seen in other towns in Normandy). If you walk up into the hills of Trouville, you can see even more gorgeous houses and some pretty amazing scenic views.Town buildings_TrouvilleTrouville_housesThe streets of the town are narrow, with many being pedestrian-only, allowing cafés and little boutiques to really attract the flow of visitors that stroll by. There is the huge Casino Barrière Trouville located on the waterfront (I am not really into gambling although to hide from the rain on Sunday I spent 5 Euros on the slot machines and made myself 35 Euros, yay!) and lots of outdoor activities for children along the beach. As this is a fishing town, you don’t have to look far before you cross one of the many fishmongers displaying their really fresh seafood. The beaches are long and sandy but in August they are crowded…so be prepared to fight for a spot, unless it’s one of those days where it rains on and off all day (like it did on the Sunday). seafood_trouvilleTrouville_BeachOf course there is also Deauville, the more popular and well known destination (where the American Film Festival of Deauville takes place every September), but I find it a little too flashy and overpriced (especially the accomodation), even if it is very pretty in its own right. If you’re not wanting to walk or rent a bike between the two towns then the little BAC ferry boats can take you from Trouville to Deauville by crossing the Touques river (only 1, 50 Euros per trip).Deauville_BoardwalkCasino_trouvilleSo with that introduction, let’s get to the serious stuff: Where to eat? We were really lucky during this trip and managed to find three excellent cafés/restaurants in a town that is pretty touristy. I’d like to think that it was my foodie intuition that lead me to them. So here they are:

Villa Gypsy

We stumbled upon this place accidentally as we were wandering around looking for a place to eat a light snack. I was immediately drawn to its trendy exterior which was different from the other more traditional facades and as I peeked into the pleasant shop I caught a glimpse of a backyard patio. Inside we discovered a coffee shop combined with a lifestyle boutique selling neutral and pastel colored home décor items and gift ideas. Behind the counter was a mother and daughter that were very friendly and that served a variety of tasty and healthy treats. I had a zucchini, tomato and goat cheese savory tart (which was delicious) with a side salad for under 10 Euros! They equally had a great selection of teas (Lov Organic and Kusmi) and drool-worthy homemade desserts (2,20-4,50 Euros). We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch in their tranquil oasis and spent way too much time relaxing in their comfy garden chairs. Where: 65 Rue des Bains, 14360 Trouville-sur-MerVilla gypsy_trouvilleLe Pavillon Augustine

This place was right on the riverbank in front of the casino, making us think that it must have good seafood, and thankfully we were right! The mood is a little more upscale and at night it transforms into a piano bar with a guy singing classic songs in French and English (with a slight accent…I can’t help but hear it) to entertain the many couples sharing plates of fresh oysters. Apparently they even have live bands performing some nights, and people can hit the dancefloor after dinner, if that’s your thing. We sat outside on the patio where there were families and other large groups and it felt more chill. They have 3 course meals for as low as 29,90 Euros at dinner and 15,90 Euros at lunch. The service was excellent and the oysters and fish were perfect. The waiter even offered us a shot of pear liquor on the house…and this was after the Calvados (the local liquor that you will find in every gift shop around town) in the desssert and the wine with dinner. As you can guess, I left buzzed but very happy! Where: 1, Quai Albert 1er, 14360 Trouville-sur-MerLe Pavillon Augustine_TrouvilleTivoli Bistro

Hidden down a quiet street in the centre of Trouville you will find Tivoli Bistro. If you’re wanting some authentic home cooking then this is the place to go! Run by Christiane and Gérard, it feels a little like you are eating at your French Auntie and Uncle’s as you can see Gérard cooking in the kitchen at the back of the small cozy room. Christiane is very friendly and takes her time talking to all of her guests (it is for this reason that reservations are recommended as she does not squish in tons of people, and there are only about 8 tables) and describing the local specialties that they serve. We went for lunch where they have a 3 course menu for 29 Euros, which is excellent value, considering the quality of the food here. I started with a toasted goat cheese salad, followed by a sole meunière that she kindly deboned for me, and for dessert an apple sorbet doused in Calvados. She even offered us a plate of cheeses from the Normandy region (Camembert, Pont-l’Évêque and Livarot) to try. I was a little worried at first as they are all what one would call “stinky” cheeses, but they actually tasted pretty nice. Overall it was a great cultural food experience. Where: 27 Rue Charles Mozin, 14360 Trouville-sur-MerTivoli Bistro-TrouvilleOne last thing: keep in mind that as this town is a popular weekend retreat for Parisians, most of the restaurants stay open on the weekend but can therefore be closed on Tuesday and/or Wednesday! Call ahead and make reservations if you don’t want to be disappointed!

Now to completely change topic! I do have to mention that it was exactly one year ago today that I uploaded my first blog post and started From Your Parisian. I can’t believe that a year has gone by already, and although I haven’t been as active as I would like to be, I hope to grow and improve as I learn from my mistakes and try new things (e.g. I’ve enlarged the photos in this post, thoughts?). I can’t wait for another year of blogging and sharing with everyone my favortite places to visit in this wonderful city that I now call home! Thanks for your support! Bisous!

To be Parisian is not to have been born in Paris, but to be reborn. -Sacha Guitry

 


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Paris wine bars: Comestibles et Marchand de Vins

One of my favorite things to eat in Paris is a good cheese and/or charcuterie plate…along with a glass (or two…or more) of wine! Although you would think that every wine bar or restaurant in Paris would serve only mouthwatering cheeses and mind-blowing wine, this is far from a reality. So, as I want everyone to enjoy this experience as much as I do, here is a review of Comestibles et Marchand de Vins! It’s my go-to address for the best selection of high quality but simple French (for the most part) food products and amazing wine, located near métro Jules Joffrin.Comestibles_Paris_Cheese plateThe bright blue facade is easy to spot as you walk up rue Mont-Cénis (which is the street to take if you want to reach Place de Tertre) as it takes up a prime corner in this lively neighborhood of the 18th arrondissement. In the warmer months people are seated in a long row of blue chairs (complete with blankets for those chilly evenings) or around one of the two large wine barrel tables. The first thing you will notice is their huge wine menu (we’re talking pages and pages of expertly selected red, white, rosé and champagne to choose from) along with a page of tempting snacks to accompany that perfect bottle.Comestibles_Paris_exteriorComestibles_Paris_Wine MenuComestibles_Paris_Food MenuI have been here many times so I’ll describe my latest visit with the bf. We shared a small cheese plate (a selection of 4 cheeses, including Camembert from Normandy and Saint-Nectaire; 8 Euros) a small charcuterie plate (with a variety of dried sausages and paté, including one from the Ardèche region of France; 8 Euros) and a bottle of red wine (Maison Nicolas Perrin, Saint-Joseph 2013). I love how the plates are always garnished with flavorful additions such as a light salad, apricots, figs, olives, tapenades, pickles, jams or other exquisite condiments from their shelves…and they all come with a basket full of fresh bread.Comestibles_Paris_Cheese and charcuterieComestibles_Paris_MiravalYou can honestly taste the care that goes into the selection of every one of their menu items…they pick only the best. Their list of wine and food changes all the time but I am never disappointed. I have previously tried the most delicious truffle Pecorino cheese and paper-thin prosciutto that literally melted in my mouth. I have equally tried Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s Miraval Rosé here (yes they make wine now too), for 26 Euros/bottle. They also concoct the most beautiful and luscious tartines that you have just got to try. Glasses of wine start at 4 Euros and a plate of something yummy starts at 8 Euros, so they cater to every budget. Comestibles_Paris_truffle pecorinoComestibles_Paris_prosciuttoIf there is no room to sit outside or inside, which after 8 pm is very likely, you can still browse their stock of numerous treats, where you are sure to find yourself a good Bordeaux, a jar of Edmond Fallot mustard (such as Cassis flavored Dijon mustard), or a can of Belle-iloise sardines to take home. The staff here know exactly what they sell and are happy to give you their recommendations based on your request.Comestibles_Paris_Interior Comestibles et Marchand de Vins is the perfect spot to enjoy an evening out in Paris like a true Parisian (i.e. drinking wine) and try some delightful regional products that will blow your taste buds away!Comestibles_Paris_exterior2 Restaurant Details :

65, rue du Mont Cenis

Paris, 75018

+33 (0)1 73 70 56 28

Rating : 5 plates of truffle pecorino out of 5


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Restaurant Review: L’Afghani

One thing that’s great about Paris (and other cosmopolitan cities) is that you can find a restaurant for pretty much any type of cuisine you may desire. It’s kind of like going on a tour around the world without having to pay for a plane ticket and allows you to try all sorts of new and exotic dishes. Even if Afghanistan might not currently be on your travel list, that does not have to stop you from trying their amazing cooking. L’Afghani  is a restaurant hidden between Sacré-Coeur and Chateau-Rouge that is easily overlooked, but that I was lucky enough to discover thanks to my friend V who suggested we try it out.We went with a group of friends and were definitely pleasantly surprised by our experience. Personally I had no idea what to expect, but as soon as we walked in I knew that it was going to be authentic. The owner and server were calm but very friendly and we were shown to a comfy corner booth scattered with cushions. All around us was exploding with Afghan culture: from the lamp shades and tapestries to the traditional instruments and various clothing displayed on the walls, we felt immediately immersed in another world. A beautiful women’s dress caught my eye and for a moment I stopped to admire the vibrant colors and intricate embroidery that made it so gorgeous.  I could almost imagine a beautiful Afghan woman dancing in that very dress and watching the skirt swish as she twirled to the music playing softly throughout the restaurant.Back at my table we were all hungry and so decided to order some entrées (ranging from 4-6 Euros) to start followed by a main dish each. First came the soft and warm naan bread, then the entrées that were (I’m being totally serious) out of this world! My faves were the Borani (fried eggplant in a rich tomato sauce, drizzled with garlic flavored yogurt) and the Gol-é-karam (lightly fried cauliflower balls with a vinegary tang to them…OMG! Soooo good!). One of my friends tried a yogurt, mint and cucumber drink, which was light and refreshing while I stuck with the cardamom black tea (2.50 Euros). They also have a killer mint tea, FYI!afghani_paris_appetizersAfter devouring those entrées, we were super excited for the next course to arrive. I ordered the Ashak (13 Euros), which reminded me of perogies that were filled with leeks and coriander and covered in a rich ground beef, bean, tomato and lentil sauce and then a light pouring of garlic yogurt. I had never tasted anything like it and was completely happy with my choice. I did however dip my fork into some of the other plates around me, such as the Ghazni Karahi (14 Euros; Afghan style onion and herb meatballs with a pile of rice in the middle, topped with a fried egg), which were very tasty too. What was so nice about these dishes was the mix of spices and flavors that I had never experienced before, but that blended perfectly.afghani_paris_main course menuAfterwards some of my friends were up for dessert so they ordered a Halwa zardak (carrot cake squares flavored with rose water, cardamom and coconut milk) and Halwa (kind of like a bowl of soft granola made from flour, almonds, raisins and honey). Both were very sweet and very fragrantly spiced. I was more a fan of the savory courses to be honest, but this in no way means that they weren’t good.So if you’re in Paris and getting tired of French food then I definitely recommend giving L’Afghani a try. It is reasonably priced, has lots of vegetarian dishes (like the Ashak without the ground beef) and is sure to take your taste buds on a ride to a far away land! Just make sure to reserve a table in advance, because once you’ve been here you can’t wait to go back!

Restaurant Details:

16 Rue Paul Albert, 75018 Paris

+33 (0)1 42 51 08 72

Rating: 

5 hot mint teas out of 5!

 


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Fast Food, Fast Review: Bob’s Bake Shop

I had the immense pleasure of taking a day off work last Tuesday, which gave me the chance to wander around Paris on a weekday and check out a place I have wanted to try for a while now: Bob’s Bake Shop!

bobs bake shop_paris_lunch

This American eatery is located in the new, eco-friendly Halle Pajol (which totally deserves  its own blog post…I will eventually get around to it), giving it a very unique and natural feel. It has a definite North American diner look and the staff speak English and are all casually dressed in loose sweatshirts and beanies, reminding me of coffee shop staff in Vancouver or Seattle.

bobs bake shop_paris_coffee

As soon as I walked inside, the smell of freshly ground coffee (from La Brûlerie de Belleville) drifted into my nostrils while my eyes were drawn to the glass display cases full of good old-fashioned pies, cheesecakes and brownies. I was hungry and craving a bagel so I looked up at the wide choice of homemade bagels and the list of possible ingredients to fill them with.

bobs bake shop_paris_pies and cakes

bobs bake shop_paris_sandwich menu

I was tempted by the Kalamata olive, feta, and grilled vegetable filling (7 Euros), because feta is the best thing ever!!!, but instead chose a classic smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel (8 Euros) from the list of delicious lacto-ovo-pesco vegetarian choices. I equally asked for a fresh mint infused lemonade (3,50 Euros) and a matcha and chocolate chunk cookie (2 Euros) from the pile that were strategically placed on a plate along the counter by the till (it is not possible to resist taking one). Then I sat down by the window at a little table whose color matched my mint lemonade and waited for my bagel to be brought over.

bobs bake shop_paris_interior

From my cozy corner I looked around as soft folk/pop songs like Angus and Julia Stone “Big Jet Plane” played over the noises of milk frothing and ceramic cups clinking from behind the counter. They have an impressive list of other lunch choices available such as salads, soups, tartines, fresh fruit juices and even chia pudding! I glanced outside at the rain and imagined how nice it will be in summer to come here and eat in the sun on one of their large wooden picnic tables. My random musings were interrupted by the arrival of my sesame seed bagel. I took a bite and Wow! It was seriously delicious and filled with a generous amount of cream cheese, smoked salmon, sliced tomatoes and pickled red onions. I hadn’t had a bagel sandwich like this in a long time and tried to eat it as elegantly as possible, but I ended up with cream cheese all over my cheeks and fingers (hopefully no one was watching me eat, as I’m sure it must have looked like something similar to the porridge scene in Beauty and the Beast)!

bobs bake shop_paris_bagel

After sipping some refreshing lemonade I moved on to the green colored cookie and was very surprised by how light and crumbly it was, with large chunks of chocolate throughout and a mild taste of matcha. I was pretty full at this point but considered ordering a slice of pecan pie (4 Euros) before leaving. I hesitated for a moment and finally decided I would save that delight for next time…because I’ll definitely be coming back!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With a great selection of high quality North American baked goods, I definitely recommend Bob’s Bake Shop. It is bound to please health freaks, or people like me who once in a while feel bad about all of the baguette and fromage they constantly eat and want something a little more wholesome/less fattening! So make your way up to Marx Dormoy métro station in the 18th arrondissement and check out this bake shop as well as Halle Pajol, which has really rejuvenated this often overlooked neighborhood. I think I will be dropping by fairly often for my bagel fix from now on!

bobs bake shop_paris_exterior2

Restaurant Details:

12 esplanade Nathalie Sarraute, 75018 Paris

+33 (0)9 84 46 25 26

http://www.bobsjuicebar.com/bake-shop.html

My Rating:

5 irresistible cookies out of 5!

FYI: For info on Marc Grossman’s two other health food establishments in Paris, Bob’s Juice Bar or Bob’s Kitchen, please see: http://www.bobsjuicebar.com

 

 


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Restaurant Review: Le Bistro des Halles

Happy New Year Everyone! Yes it’s a little late, but with all that’s been going on in Paris I haven’t had a night to really sit down and write until now. As is common in winter, it has been cold and rainy here, and when it’s like this I crave comfort foods and homemade bistro cooking! So, for my first post of 2015 here is a review of Le Bistro des Halles, a very authentic French bistro located between Les Halles and Rue de Rivoli where you will find carefully chosen wines, amazing meat and cheese plates and ridiculously good meals!

bistro des halles_paris_périgourdine salad

When my boyfriend worked in this area of town he would talk about this place all the time, telling me how great their sandwiches were. They were basic, filled with various meats, but they were so tasty that all of the locals came here for lunch. He equally raved about a dinner he had here one time. So when C, my awesome ex-coworker, said he was coming to town to have dinner with equally awesome V and myself I thought it was the perfect occasion to give it a try!

bistro des halles_paris_bar

Before I go on, I should fill you in on some basic info about this place. This is an “old-school” French bistro. If you walk in on a weeknight and will probably see a bunch of working class guys (that look like they come here often and are the farthest thing from trendy) milling around the bar and chatting with the staff. The décor is very modest with checkered table cloths, dried flowers and bunches of garlic hanging about as well as chalkboards displaying the menu on the wall. Our waiter was a no-nonsense French guy who takes wine very seriously (quelle surprise!). When C asked for a coke, he shot him a look of disapproval (that reminded me of the time I asked for ketchup with my croque-monsieur in another traditional Parisian bistro and I thought the waiter was literally going to spit on me in disgust)! We all spoke French so I am not sure if the waiters speak English here (I didn’t hear any English around me) or if they would want to make much of an effort with non-French speakers. But I might be mistaken, please give it a try and let me know. Anyways! If I haven’t scared you off already, I will get to the good part. The food!

bistro des halles_paris_interior2

bistro des halles_paris_menu_carte

Apparently the lady in the kitchen is called Isabel and she sure knows what she’s doing! C and I both ordered the confit de canard (or confit duck; 17 euros). You should know that I am a huge fan of this dish, and when I see it on a menu I always have the strongest urge to order it! I have had some really good and some really average/disappointing duck over the past 4 years in Paris, and I have to say that this is one of the best I have ever had! The skin was crispy (as it should be) and the meat was soft, tender and oh so juicy! It came balanced on top of a generous pile of sautéed (I’m guessing in duck fat and garlic) potatoes and pleurotes (oyster mushrooms) and sprinkled with chives. Together with a glass of red wine (I chose the “wine of the day” which was Corbières Abbaye de Fontfroide; 4.40 Euros), my tummy was beyond happy! C also ordered a glass of wine with his meal, redeeming himself in the eyes of our waiter.

bistro des halles_paris_confit de canard

V ordered a salad named “La Périgourdine” (15 Euros), which from the name you have no idea what it is, but it was definitely not a “diet” salad (none of their salads are), and consisted of lettuce, tomatoes, fresh green beans drizzled in a vinaigrette and topped with smoked magret duck, walnuts and, oh yeah, a nice thick slice of their homemade foie gras! During dinner, V wanted to order another glass of wine before having finished her current glass and the waiter calmly said that he was surveying the room and would come by when he saw that her glass was empty (umm…okay). We found this strange at first but he did keep to his word, after only the briefest delay.

bistro des halles_paris_creme brulée

bistro des halles_paris_fromage blanc

We were pretty full by this time but when the waiter asked us if we wanted a dessert, we found it too hard to say no. V and I shared the perfect crème brulée (6 Euros) and C had a fromage blanc topped with honey and hazelnuts (also 6 Euros). Simple but totally satisfying…just like our entire experience at Le Bistro des Halles that evening. Check it out if you’re in the area and want to eat some good quality food in a laid-back, no-fuss environment. Just take my advice and do not ask for ketchup!

 

Details:

15 Rue des Halles, 75001 Paris

+33 (0)1 42 36 91 69

My Rating:

4 serious French waiters out of 5!


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Paris Restaurant Review: Bistro Poulbot

Usually when I go out for dinner with my boyfriend I tend to choose the place, as I always have a long list of “must check out” places that I’m eager to try. This time, as it was a special occasion, I decided to let him take a shot at choosing a restaurant and when he suggested Bistro Poulbot I was relatively happy to give it a go. This cute little bistro is located in the quiet street of Rue Lamarck, only a short walk from Sacré-Coeur, making it the perfect place to enjoy a meal away from the craziness (and the many tourist traps with overpriced and dismal food) you find around Place du Tertre.

bistro poulbot_paris_sign

bistro poulbot_paris_exterior

I have to admit that this place can easily be overlooked with its simple red awning but as we crossed the street its glowing interior, complete with sparkling Christmas lights, really invited us in. Once inside we were greeted by a very friendly server who showed us to our cozy table for two by the window. The décor inside was that of a traditional French bistro with wooden chairs/tables and leather bench seating, chalkboard menus hanging on the walls and photos of chickens and other vintage prints scattered about.

bistro poulbot_paris_interior

bistro poulbot_paris_bar

The huge chalkboard menu was brought over to us and I immediately noticed some “interesting” items on the menu, and when I say “interesting” I mean things that I would not really choose to eat. I’ve never been a huge meat eater so eating veal tongue and veal brain with potatoes has never really appealed to me. I will give them a try if offered from someone else’s plate (I’ll try almost anything once) but I will never choose any sort of offal dish by choice. Luckily, I still had many other options, so everyone should be able to find something they like…well apart from vegetarians. The chef, Lorenzo Torrini, manages to expertly blend traditional and rural French cuisine with his own unique touches and at 35 euros for a 3 course meal (entrée, plat et dessert), you really can’t complain!

bistro poulbot_paris_menu_carte

I chose the courgettes en carpacccio as an entrée while he went for the duck foie gras, we both chose the bavette “tagliata” as our main course, and for dessert he chose the profiteroles and I the apple crumble… to begin with…then at the last minute I switched my order to the pain perdu (the waiter was super sweet and told me I had the right to change my mind…thank you). Our bottle of wine arrived with a cute little basket of in-shell peanuts. We were both hungry and demolished them immediately! By this time we had properly defrosted and were nice and warm in our little corner.

bistro poulbot_paris_wine

The first dish arrived as an attractive display of thinly sliced zucchini, folded and arranged like the big bows you find on top of presents, then drizzled in lemon vinaigrette and topped with crispy parmesan flakes and pine nuts. It was light, fresh and very tasty. Of course my boyfriend enjoyed his foie gras (he always does!) and I stole some of the spinach leaves from his plate that were tossed in a light but flavorful dressing.

bistro poulbot_paris_courgette carpacio

bistro poulbot_paris_foie gras

Next came the “tagliata” steak, covered in a yummy Bearnaise herb sauce (that had what I thought tasted like a hint of anise), cut into thick slices and cooked to perfection. It was accompanied by a small, but decent quantity of mashed potatoes. I was completely satisfied and although the quantity was not enormous my guy seemed to find it an ideally sized portion as well.

bistro poulbot_paris_steak

The best, however, was yet to come! I am not even going to talk about the profiteroles because for once I didn’t insist on trying his dessert as I was too incredibly blown away by my pain perdu (or French toast) topped with strawberries, bits of meringue and whipped cream. I don’t think I’ve ever found French toast to be so good! It was light and slightly crisp on the outside while bursting with buttery and sugary goodness in every bite! The strawberries and meringue pieces were classic yet genius additions and, once again, the portion was perfect. Not too much (to give you a sugar overdose) and not too little (to leave you feeling unfulfilled).

bistro poulbot_paris_pain perdu

In conclusion: with winter officially here and the holiday season upon us I can’t think of a better place to recommend for anyone wanting to find a little shelter from the cold while enjoying some good quality bistro cooking. Also, note to self: I’m not the only one who can  pick a good restaurant!

And with that now said, I am going to finish wrapping my Christmas presents. I wish you all a very happy holiday season and all the best for 2015: I’ve got so many great places to tell you about this coming year, I can’t wait! 🙂

Details:
39 Rue Lamarck, 75018 Paris
+33 (0)1 46 06 86 00
http://www.bistropoulbot.fr/

My Rating:

5 plates of pain perdu out of 5


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Paris Restaurant Review : La Balançoire

You’re in Montmartre and looking for a place to eat. If you haven’t done your homework before heading out, it is easy to sit yourself in one of the many busy restaurants along the main streets around Abbesses métro station which, I’m going to be honest, can be pretty disappointing. So to inaugurate my blog (*giggles of excitement*), my first post will be a review of La balançoire:  a great option if you’re looking for a restaurant in the 18th arrondissement (my favorite area of Paris FYI) where the food is freshly made and tasty, the service is super friendly and the atmosphere is cozy and playful.

exterior-balancoire-restaurant-paris

I had passed by this place on numerous occasions and finally got to check it out with my boyfriend on a Saturday night. Luckily I had made a reservation as, apart from our table for two, the place was otherwise packed. We sat down and immediately I saw it: a wooden swing attached from the ceiling with two long ropes! I mean I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything less from a place called “the swing” (English translation of La balançoire), but I was still surprised. The immature part of me wanted to go over there and try it out, but I decided, or rather forced myself, to resist (although I am totally going to come back with friends next time and reserve that table)!

interior-balancoire-restaurant-paris

The smiling waiter arrived with the menu written on a big chalkboard and proceeded to explain, in detail, the 6 or 7 entrées and main courses offered. I definitely appreciated this and my usual questions (i.e. what does it come with? what exactly is in the sauce? etc.) were answered. I ordered the house cheeseburger (16 Euros) and added bacon (because if adding bacon is an option, I add it…obviously!) and my boyfriend chose the beef tartare (18 Euros). We then played with the forks and spoons that were floating above our napkins, thanks to a hidden magnet in the table, and admired the charming décor around us that included jars of French candies, cookbooks, rows of wine corks, and vintage telephones.

                                                                 floating cutlery-balancoire

Our dishes arrived along with a nice bottle of Bordeaux (24 Euros, but if you’re on a budget you can also just get a glass for under 5 Euros). My burger came served in an English muffin style bun (which I found original) with tomato, lettuce, a slice of cheese and two strips of crispy bacon, along with a side of super yummy fries and some mixed greens tossed in a light vinaigrette. I tried a taste of the beef tartare, presented nicely with an egg yolk on top, even though I have been scared to try this dish in the past (I’m a little paranoid when it comes to food poisoning)! It was clearly a finely chopped steak rather than the mince beef tartare I usually see, and the taste of Dijon mustard and capers mixed in that little bite I tried was divine. We still had some wine left, so we shared a mousse au chocolat (8 Euros) which was creamy and light and garnished with a few red currants.

burger-balancoire-restaurant-paris

                                                                    beef-tartare-balançoire-retaurant-paris

                                                                    chocolate-mousse-balancoire

When we finally asked for the bill, surprise, surprise: it arrived with a jar full of candies!!! And not just any candies, fraises Tagada (which, in case you don’t know, are those yummy little pink strawberry flavored and sugar coated marshmellowy treats)! We were too excited and started grabbing them by the handful. We paused at one moment wondering if perhaps we were in fact stuffing our faces with decorative candies that had been sitting in a jar for years, but we were reassured (yes…we asked) that they are in fact for us to enjoy and that they refilled the jars regularly. Awesome!!! I need to mention again, for those of you who don’t believe that polite Parisian waiters exist, that the two male servers were beyond friendly, laughed at our lame jokes (without even a hint of an eye roll) and told us that the owners have now opened a second restaurant, not too far away, called La boite aux lettres (which I will be sure to check out soon).

                                                                 candies-balancoire-restaurant-paris

La balançoire is equally open for lunch, featuring a starter+main course or main course+dessert special for 15 Euros or the 3 courses for 18 Euros. With its constantly changing menu made up of carefully prepared French dishes, I will definitely be back.

 

Restaurant details:

La Balançoire

6, rue Aristide Bruant, 75018 Paris, France

+33 1 42 23 70 83

http://www.restaurantlabalancoire.fr/

My Rating: 5 strawberry marshmallows out of 5!